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The executives of the National Rail Enquiry service see no problem in transferring their call centre to Bangalore in India (mind you, they're probably also the ones responsible for that hideously horrible neologism "Train Station" - don't they know that, for ****'s sake, in English it is, and always has been, a "Railway Station"?).
But I digress.
What I mean is, if they can do it from Bangalore, I can sure as hell do it from the Isle of Skye.
So here goes with 2 months of news, and a lot of apologies for what's been left out.
It must be remembered that these pages are an unofficial record of the goings on at The Angel, from the partisan point of view of a paying customer. All views expressed are those of the author. So up yours, Greene King.
The Really Sad Bit
2003 seems to have been a really bad year for saying "Goodbye" to people we had no wish to see go.
The last edition of these notes referred to Reg's death. Since then, 2 more Angel regulars have passed on.
Tony Williams died on 16 October. Tony was one of those characters that every pub needs. Clever, committed, intelligent and knowledgable, he could be relied upon for good conversation, occasionally an argument and always a pithy comment.
When the pub quiz leagues started back in the 80s, he was always there to take part and, although he gave up playing some years back, he could always come up with answers to the most difficult questions.
He was a plasterer by trade, and a proud craftsman. It is so sad to say "Goodbye".
Clive Bryan had become a regular of the pub over the last couple of years, and had been dreaming of how to use his early retirement from the Big Factory in Sudbury. Perched on a stool by the door, he had a smile for everyone, and never a nasty word. He died, suddenly, on 1 November. He too will be sadly missed.
And Pauline, former landlady of "The Cock", passed away on 10 November: another character lost.
Our deepest sympathies are sent to all their relatives and everyone who knew them."Now as you sleep the dreams come winging clear;
The hawks of morning cannot harm you here.
Sleep is a river, flows on forever,
And for your boatman choose old John of Dreams."
Crib Team News
The last Crib headline read:
"Crib Team in Early Season Sensation"
since the team had won 3 games out of four and were perched giddily near the top of the table.
I mused at the time that it would be pleasant to reflect on even more success as the season progressed.
Well, how does Played 6, Won 3, grab you as a set of results since October 1?
Sounds like good middle table consistency to me, and far better than we have been able to report in previous seasons.
The wins include a trouncing of "The Perseverance" and victories over the Clare "Swan", and Glemsford "Crown". A defeat (7-8) by the "Cherry Tree" ("Stump and Skip") prevented the team establishing themselves as the Kings of Glemsford, but, hey, in these heady days, who's counting?
If in doubt, ask the Belgian question
OK, OK, we all know the answers are made up of things like Tin Tin, Hercule Poirot, van Damme and Anderlecht, but I suppose you can add to that "The L'Estrange Famous Beer Tour" which this year "happened", if that's the right word, over the weekend of 18/19 October.
Luckily, I have two independent reports on which to base this entry.
First of all, a "regular" absorber of information tells me that "Paula was back behind the bar for the first time on Friday (17 October) and it was fairly quiet in the pub, as most of them "were running amok in Oostende"". That correspondent also sends an account of "greeting the return of the Belgian Beer Monsters as they fell off the coach ... unshaven, tucking into kebabs (on a Sunday, tut, tut) and laden with Duty Paid shopping".
Two points of interest are added to this shocking but expected vision: as you might expect, the shopping "consisted largely of "Old Holborn", except for Sippo, who for some reason brought boxes of Persil!"
I can't begin to wonder why, or what for. Has it anything to do with handcuffs, I wonder?
The other point was that Kevin apparently spent the weekend inventing new drinks, doubtless to try out on the unsuspecting clientele of The Angel. Lemsip and Coke should go down a treat.
My informant told me that:
"Apparently, Kevin has remained stone cold sober throughout, ... due to a cold! " Shame.
My second informant came in the form of someone calling himself "Big Al" on my Guestbook.. He wrote:
"Hi Dave, Pete, Kev and all the rest (including the seriously good looking woman that looked like shannon docherty!!!) - just to say to all who attended the Belgium trip.... thanks a million. You were all a blast; even Numan (we all know what he lost!!!!) no not your virginity Numan.... just 700 euros on the first night!!!!"
I think I'd better leave you all to make up your own minds, but one question lingers about Belgium:
What had they done to deserve that?
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One of the problems of working at this distance is that I have to rely on people letting me have the necessary information to include on the page. You can understand, I am sure, that I was not sure whether to believe this clip that arrived, hot off the press the night it happened. I am, however, very grateful to Kevin:
"The heat is now off the Darts team!
It was the start of the new Quiz season under the guidance of the new captain Steve
Plumb, at home against the Glemsford Black Lion, and the Lion won by 43 to 38. The
relief was, we won the important drinks round (hurrah) 11 to 7."
I suppose I should adopt a Meldrew-like tone there, but we all know that worse things have happened before, haven't they? But really, The Black Lion? I don't believe it.
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Good Arrers, my son!
Kevin's referrence to the Darts team means I cannot avoid them. In a mood of near-ecstasy, our esteemed landlord wrote:
"The darts team has started their new season the same as last year, losing all three matches, but it is early days and with more new players trying to find their form, we will come good soon!"
"New players" eh? I must find out more.
Kevin goes on to tell me:
"We would like to welcome our new captain to the team, Fred Housego".
This sounds to me as though it were spoken through gritted teeth, since Fred is one of those rare gems of a certain vintage, and one, no less, who has been somehow seduced away from the hallowed portals of "The Cock".
I wonder whether we have here a story of palace revolution or popular revolt.
Whatever the truth, the latest (11 November 2003) news is that "I said we would come good soon. We beat the North St Tavern last night, 5-4. Hurrah! It was down to good team selection from our new captain Fred, and our team
playing well on the night."
So there you have it. Darts team wins one game, and its like the turning of a new page in the annals of civilisation; quiz team loses one and its the end of life as we know it.
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Thanks for all the news, people. Keep it coming, and maybe the update will be sooner next time.
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